One of the great things about covering the Invicta FC brand is there is really no such thing as a difference in card. The all pro women’s mixed martial arts promotion headed by Shannon Knapp is a “every fight is a main card fight” type of outing which is something to be celebrated. So yeah, we may cry when our favorite strawweight Alexa Grasso is once again injured but no matter if it’s 7 fights or 13 we know we are in for some stellar mixed martial arts action from some of the best talent in the world. World is a fitting term to use in describing Invicta FC 16’s headlining bout between Ayaka Hamasaki(12-1/Japan) and Amber Brown(6-1/USA). These two atomweights will compete for Ayaka’s recently gained crown as she defeated former champion Herica Tiburcio at Invicta FC 13 back in July. The co main is now a bonafide fight for the interim flyweight championship between Vanessa Porto(18-6) and Jennifer Maia(12-4). With Barb Honchak unsure of her return it makes this the second title event on the card The other seven fights are stacked with new stars in the promotion and one making a return. MMA Wreckage gives a slight preview and prediction on each fight below.
Ayaka Hamasaki is a skilled veteran from multiple organizations and at 105 pounds has uncanny strength that has helped her finish seven of her 12 pro fights. The only other woman in the division who may be as strong and possibly stronger in the hard hitting Amber Brown. Brown feels she has been ready to carry the atomweight title for a minute and now she gets her chance. There are tons of reasons to believe the more experienced Hamasaki will retain her title, but the submission game of Amber just may be too much. It feels as if Amber will hit her hard and early and eventually finish her on the mat via guillotine or anything else that places Ayaka in her strong grasp.
Vanessa Porto(18-6) has been on the outside looking in at the flyweight title for some time. After her lost to Honchak she has rattled off three straight wins and is looking as primed as ever to capture the title. Standing opposite her in the cage will be another Brazilian who has come close in the past in Jennifer Maia(12-4-1). Just as she was getting close to a shot at the title she was derailed by weight changing opponents like Leslie Smith who now fights in the UFC. This should be a war as both women have no issue moving forward. The leg kicks and explosive power of Porto should do the trick against the testy Maia and give her the interim title.
Stepping in for strawweight contender Alexa Grasso is former TUF competitor Angela Hill (3-2) who recently notched a victory in impressive fashion at Invicta FC 15. She faces the returning Stephanie Eggink(4-2) who was one round away from capturing the strawweight title herself. She should be more than fresh and ready for her pursuit at the crown and her boxing will provide an equal challenge to Hill’s striking ability. Eggink is still a more well rounded fighter than Hill and should pull off the victory with a decision or a finish of her own.
Jessamyn Duke (3-3) was one of the more popular fighters to leave Invicta and head to the inaugural coed season of The Ultimate Fighter teaming up with Ronda Rousey. Gun was eventually welcomed to the fold as a part of the infamous Four Horsewomen of mma but fortunately was not successful in the UFC. She returns home to Invicta where she has notched two of her three professional victories. She faces bantamweight standout Irene Aldana in what should be one for the ages. Aldana was completely dominated by current champion Tonya Evinger so she will be looking to rebound in this match against Duke.The two rangy fighters will more than likely go the distance but I feel that Irene will spoil the return of Duke to pick up the victory.
After a shot at the strawweight title against Livia Renata Souza, Deanna Bennett(8-1) returns to flyweight to face Roxanne Modafferi(18-12). The always dangerous assassin will test the savvy veteran often in a fight for position in the now open weight class. Many thought Bennett already had the tools to win the flyweight title so a win against Roxanne should put her right back on track. Modafferi had great momentum going into her fight with Porto last year. Now she looks to go on another two fight win streak and remain in discussion for her opportunity at the title as well. This is a tough one to predict, but gun to the head would put me in favor of Bennett winning by decision. Roxanne usually does not go down no matter how many times you hit her so it will be intriguing to see what adjustments Deanna makes.
Herica Tiburcio(9-3) is on the return path for her atomweight title and will be paying close attention to what happens in the main event. Before she can make any moves in that direction she must face the three Invicta FC fight standout Jinh Yu Frey(4-1). Frey has won two straight and will be a lengthy test for the former champion. If we can see Herica return to the speed and precision she displayed in her win over Michelle Waterson then Frey may be in for some trouble similar to what she experienced in her last lost. Another tough fight that could go the distance or end with a slick submission makes me think Tiburcio will grab the W.
Andrea Lee(4-1) looks to continue her momentum across multiple platforms with a win against Invicta mainstay Sarah D’Alelio (8-6). KGB is another fighter that will be paying close attention to the co main event as she could easily be placed back in the title picture with another win in Invicta FC. Both she and Bennett would almost head in a collision course on the way to the title and that would be a remarkable thing.
Kelly Gill (2-0) looks to go 3 straight against the surging Aspen Ladd who steps in on short notice in place of Amber Lynn Orr. Amatuer standout prospects Ashley Greenway (0-0) and Sarah Click(0-0) start off the night. The two athletes are highly touted and both will be welcome additions to the Invicta FC roster. Look for fireworks from the start.
Invicta FC 16 takes place on Friday March 12th from the Trinidad Pavilion at Tropicana Las Vegas and will be streaming live on UFC Fight Pass.
The full card for Invicta FC 16 can be found below:
Atomweight Title: Ayaka Hamasaki (12-1) vs. Amber Brown (6-1)
Interim Flyweight Title: Vanessa Porto (18-6) vs. Jennifer Maia (12-4-1)
Strawweight: Stephanie Eggink (4-2) vs. Angela Hill (3-2)
Bantamweight: Irene Aldana (5-2) vs. Jessamyn Duke (3-3)
Flyweight: Roxanne Modafferi (18-12) vs. DeAnna Bennett (8-1)
Atomweight: Herica Tiburcio (9-2) vs. Jinh Yu Frey (4-1)
Flyweight: Sarah D’Alelio (8-6) vs. Andrea Lee (4-1)
Bantamweight: Kelly McGill (2-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (2-0)
Strawweight: Ashley Greenway (0-0) vs. Sarah Click (0-0)